Best Sports Moments of 2016 Illustrated

We asked 12 artists to illustrate some of the most memorable sports moments of 2016

Illustration by Gizem Vural

Cubs win first World Series in 108 years

Powered by a potent lineup and anchored by a stout rotation, the Cubs came back from 3-1 down to beat the Cleveland Indians and win their first World Series in over a century. Game 7 was particularly enthralling, seeing the Cubs blow a lead in the eighth inning only to win in extra innings (after a rain delay between the ninth and 10th innings).

Illustration by Ariel Davis

Cavs come back from 3-1 to upset Warriors, win NBA Finals

In a rematch of the 2015 Finals, the 73-win Warriors had the Cavaliers on the ropes after four games. LeBron James and Kyrie Irving powered the Cavs to two more wins, forcing a Game 7. The game came down to the wire, the lasting image being LeBron's block of Andre Iguodala from behind. The Cavs won, giving LeBron his first ring in Cleveland, and the city’s first major sports championship since 1964.

Illustration by Lennard Kok

Villanova wins NCAA tournament on Kris Jenkins' buzzer-beater

No. 2 seed Villanova and No. 1 seed UNC played an NCAA Tournament final for the ages. Down three with six seconds left, UNC’s Marcus Paige hit an off-balance three-pointer that seemed like it would send the game into overtime. But Villanova’s Kris Jenkins hit a three-pointer at the buzzer, winning in dramatic fashion for Villanova.

Illustration by Jon Han

Simone Biles Dominates the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympics

Simone Biles won four Gymnastics gold (all-around, team, floor, vault) and a bronze (balance beam), living up to three years of massive hype by putting forth the most dominant gymnastics program ever.

Illustration by Lisk Feng

Katie Ledecky Owns the Pool

After turning heads in London with a masterful performance in the 800-meter freestyle as a 15-year-old, Ledecky won four gold medals in Rio. Images of her blowing out the competition went viral, as she won by great distances and set two world records.

Illustration by Keith Negley

Jordan Spieth Collapses on Sunday at The Masters

Golf’s hottest rising star looked primed to win his second consecutive Masters entering the back nine on Sunday, only to quadruple-bogey the 12th hole, allowing Danny Willett to surge past and win his first major. It was one of the worst collapses in golf history.

Illustration by Sam D'Orazio

Kobe Drops 60 in his Final Game

The Black Mamba said goodbye as only he could, dropping 60 points in a win over the Jazz at the Staples Center.

Illustration by Tom Eichacker

Broncos Stifle Panthers in Super Bowl, Peyton Manning Retires a Champion

The Broncos won a sloppy Super Bowl by stifling Cam Newton and the Panthers. Broncos LB Von Miller won MVP, but also notably, Peyton Manning went out on top, retiring after his second Super Bowl victory.

Illustration by Alain Pilon

Leicester City win Premier League despite 5000-1 odds

Perhaps the greatest underdog story of all time that Americans won’t know about. In only their second year back in the Premier League after being promoted from Championship (English soccer’s second tier), Leicester bucked preseason 5000-1 odds to win the Premier League.

Illustration by Ana Benaroya

Conor McGregor Holds UFC Titles in Two Weight Classes 

After defeating Jose Aldo in December 2015 to claim the featherweight belt, McGregor became the first simultaneous two-division champion in UFC history after knocking out Eddie Alvarez for the lightweight belt at UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden in November.

Illustration by Leesh Adamerovich 

Serena Williams Wins Wimbledon for her 22nd Grand Slam, Tying Steffi Graf's Record

Nearly 21 years after her first professional event, Serena Williams won her 22nd Grand Slam singles title at Wimbledon in July to tie Steffi Graf's record for the most Slams in the Open Era. Williams tore through her draw, losing just one set en route to her record-tying victory.

Illustration by Roman Muradov

No. 2 Ohio State edges No. 3 Michigan in 2OT

Michigan seemed primed to break its four-year losing streak to Ohio State and win just its second matchup against the Buckeyes since 2003. But a few mistakes and questionable calls allowed Ohio State to creep back into the game, where they eventually beat the Wolverines in a double-overtime instant classic.